Skip to main content

Patient Privacy in the Age of Social Media

Every Sunday night, healthcare Tweeps from around the world come together for the #hcsm (healthcare and social media) chat. The chat moves at lightning pace — and often overwhelms those new to the conversations. However, the #hcsm chat is the place to jump in with both feet. This Sunday, the first topic addressed dealt with patient privacy and social media. I've excerpted my own comments and those directly in return. 

What does patient privacy mean in age of social media? And, does that mean patients have a right to broadcast their care?

@AfternoonNapper Pt privacy=I can share about my health & care. What I share makes me fair game to be contacted by like-patients.#hcsm

@AfternoonNapper Broadcasting care - good & bad - falls under the realm of free speech; therefore pts have the right whether HCPs like it or not.#hcsm

@AfternoonNapper However, what is of interest is where the line of slander/libel can be drawn in re: the "print" of SoMe re: docs/facilities. #hcsm

@RyanMadanickMD >> @AfternoonNapper T1 do you think that there are HCPs who don't agree or don't like it? #hcsm

@AfternoonNapper >> @RyanMadanickMD Absolutely. If an HCP is criticized via SoMe, that has greater reach than simple word-of-mouth per usual. #hcsm

@TaborF You can choose to share your personal information, but can't always control what others will do with it once it's out there #hcsm

@AfternoonNapper >> @TaborF Spot on. And THAT's a huge part of the problem. #hcsm

@AfternoonNapper Frankly, doctors are the least of my worries re: disclosure of private info. Worry more about facilities, other patients, nosy ppl. #hcsm

@crgonzalez >> @AfternoonNapper And what about the terms of use from FB which tried to "own" all the content shared on its platform. Remember that?#hcsm

@AfternoonNapper >> @crgonzalez Another great point and one that would be a fascinating legal battle when it comes to healthcare/HIPPA/etc. #hcsm

@schwartzbrown Seems as if people feel they need to protect "patients" from themselves. #hcsm

@AfternoonNapper >> @schwartzbrown Patients do need some protection from themselves re: SoMe simply due to confusing legalities/policies. #hcsm

@AfternoonNapper Just because my patient group is largely on FB, that doesn't mean that all our participants know the nitty gritty of FB rules. #hcsm


To keep the conversation going — what do you think about patient privacy in relation to social media (Twitter, Facebook, discussion forums, etc)? There are commonly referred to risks. Do you feel that you fully understand the risks? Do the pros outweigh the cons? Have you directly experienced discrimination as a result of health disclosures on the internet? What can patients and group leaders do to address privacy concerns?


This blog post is part of WEGO Health's Health Activists Writer's Month Challenge (#HAWMC). Prompt: write about the best conversation had during the week.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Access Medicine X: Live Stream Brings Silicon Valley Direct To You

Stanford Medicine X is a catalyst for new ideas, designed to explore social media and information
technology’s power to advance medical practices, improve health, and empower patients to participate in their own care. But Medicine X also seeks to engage and empower those unable to attend in person to still get involved in the discussion.

Through Medicine X’s Global Access program, main stage content from the three-day conference will be made available through a high-quality live stream. Anyone with an Internet connection around the world will be able to view keynote speakers such as Daniel Siegel, MD, clinical professor of psychiatry at University of California-Los Angeles and author of The New York Times bestseller Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain, and panel discussions such as Gonzalo Bacigalupe's focusing on the e-health movement and inequality among marginalized populations.

“Medicine X has distinguished itself through a singular commitment to inclusivit…

And In The Wilderness A Clearing Emerged

In addition to my work as an advocate, my actual "job" has been as a reporter and editor. I've been in the field professionally since I was 17 (though one could count running the school yearbook and starting a literary magazine as my initial forays). My first employment outside a horse stable was in an university's public relations office. I worked four summers there moving up from the mail room and putting together basic press releases to writing full articles and contracting for assignment work while at college. I earned a degree in journalism with an outside concentration in political science at UNC-Chapel Hill. While there I worked as a writer, desk editor and managing editor of The Daily Tar Heel; wrote for and edited a literary magazine; volunteered for Journalists United to Maximize Potential, a student-run organization that taught middle school students how to produce a newspaper; interned in public relations for the Morehead Planetarium; and interned in publ…

Crowdfunding Creativity

For as involved as I am in the national (and, at times, international) healthcare social media community, I find myself in a local void. The mountains I call home are not the epicenter of anything to do with healthcare or social media much less the two together. I've been chipping away, trying to carve out a foothold such that the wealth of education and opportunity found in healthcare and social media can enrich the lives of those I routinely connect with in real life as it has my own. It's slow going. Every fear, every socio-economic force that pushes back against the #hcsm tide can be found here. But today... today made a new friend.

As like minds are prone to do, @SociallyMD and I connected first via Twitter. Lo and behold — we live a mere 20 minutes apart. Prior to departing for Stanford's Medicine X conference, I suggested that since we were the only two Tweeps occupying the local #hcsm space, @SociallyMD and I should meet. And meet we did, instantly connecting profe…